Amir Great Book Paper 2 - Jerald Shi Professor James Bos...

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Jerald Shi Professor James Bos Great Books 191 November 22, 2011 Suffering and Learning: Gaining Wisdom Through Pain in the Oresteia and Histories In the Oresteia we read that ‘wisdom comes through suffering’ ( pathei mathos ). What is the relationship between wisdom and suffering in Herodotus’ Histories ? Can wisdom be learned through suffering, and can it prevent future suffering according to Herodotus? You may wish (but are not required) to address the following question as well: Whose suffering and whose wisdom are we talking about? Can one learn wisdom through another’s suffering, and can one’s wisdom prevent another’s suffering? In this regard, it may be helpful to consider the role of oracles and advisers. In the Greek tragic paradigm, pathei, or suffering, is inevitable. Often times, suffering is an end result of the cycle of koros, ate, hubris, and nemesis . Wisdom, on the other hand, is not always prevalent. Adherence to oracles, gods, and dreams can prevent suffering, but characters misinterpret or ignore them frequently, suffer for their misjudgments, and sometimes gain wisdom through their suffering; yet, other characters often fail to learn from these sufferings and suffer themselves because they too misinterpret or ignore others’ experiences and advice. The relationship between wisdom and suffering is that arrogance or a lack of wisdom is often the cause for suffering, whereas suffering sometimes but does not always lead to greater wisdom,
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whether for the victim or for those learning from the victim. Suffering is an end result of the Greek tragic cycle. Excess leads to bad judgment, which leads to hubris , an overstepping of one’s bounds. Agamemnon is a prime example of the end result of the cycle. He displays koros in thinking he’s invincible, acting arrogantly toward his wife Cly
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2012 for the course GTBOOKS 191 taught by Professor Cameron during the Fall '08 term at University of Michigan.

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Amir Great Book Paper 2 - Jerald Shi Professor James Bos...

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